- They're very quick and easy (if you cheat)
- They make a small amount of meat go a long way (a single steak can feed the whole family)
- They taste great!
Oh, and you don't have to have a wok. A frying pan works, too. The only wok I've ever owned gave everything a revolting metallic taste, so I went back to using my very large, bog standard non-stick frying pan.
Meat - you can use just about any meat at all in a stifry - just slice is up finely
Vegetables - you can also use a wide range of vegetables. To be honest, I tend to be lazy. My local supermarket sells pre-juliened packs of ready-mixed stirfry vegetables. But, if I'm doing it properly, my vegetables might include:
mushrooms - thinly sliced
onions - finely sliced (red ones add great colour)
carrots - cut into matchsticks (thank goodness for slicing gadgets!)
cabbage (or pak choi or bok choi if you're feeling posh) - thinly sliced
bell peppers - thinly sliced
whole bean sprouts
bamboo shoots - straight out the can
water chestnuts - also from a can, but thinly sliced
you could also add pineapple - finely chopped (but I have a son who loathes the stuff)
mange tout - whole
baby corn cobs - whole or broken up into pieces
I start by frying the meat over a medium high heat in a tiny bit of oil until it is browned. I might liberally sprinkle it with 'Thai seven spice' which I have seen at most major supermarkets in the UK. I then add the vegetables all willy-nilly-ish, and keep stirring and turning them over until they soften up a bit. It is important not to overdo the veg, and there should be a slight crunch left in them.
This is when I add the final touch, which makes all the difference. The 'sauce'. I mix together a generous teaspoon of chopped ginger, lemongrass, sweet chilli sauce, the juice of half a lime, a dash of soy sauce, the grated zest of the lime, and a little water, and stir this into the meat and veg for a minute or two, until it has been even spread through the whole thing. Because I do this often, I have taken to buying the bottles of 'very lazy' ginger and lemongrass. As a final flourish, I chop up fresh coriander leaves and sprinkle them over the top.
Serve with noodles.
Start to finish with all the lazy shortcuts, it takes about 10 minutes. No kidding.